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1 Corinthians 1:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Paul, called [to be] an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Paul, called [to be] an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes [our] brother,
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Paul, called [as] an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Paul, called [to be] an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes [our] brother,
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Paul, [a] called apostle of Jesus Christ, by God's will, and Sosthenes the brother,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, through God's will,—and Sosthenes the brother,—
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Paul, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother,
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Paul called [to be] an Apostle of Iesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes [our] brother,
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— PAULOS the called, and the apostle of Jeshu Meshiha by the will of Aloha, and Sosthenis a brother,
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— PAUL, called and sent by Jesus Messiah in the good pleasure of God; and Sosthenes, a brother;

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Paul, 3972
{3972} Prime
Of Latin origin; (little; but remotely from a derivative of G3973, meaning the same); Paulus, the name of a Roman and of an apostle.
called 2822
{2822} Prime
From the same as G2821; invited, that is, appointed, or (specifically) a saint.
[to be] an apostle 652
{0652} Prime
From G0649; a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ ('apostle'), (with miraculous powers).
of Jesus 2424
{2424} Prime
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites.
Christ 5547
{5547} Prime
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus.
through 1223
{1223} Prime
A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through (in very wide applications, local, causal or occasional). In composition it retains the same general import.
the will 2307
{2307} Prime
From the prolonged form of G2309; a determination (properly the thing), that is, (actively) choice (specifically purpose, decree; abstractly volition) or (passively) inclination.
of God, 2316
{2316} Prime
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very.
and 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
Sosthenes 4988
{4988} Prime
From the base of G4982 and that of G4599; of safe strength; Sosthenes, a Christian.
[our] brother, 80
{0080} Prime
From G0001 (as a connective particle) and δελφύς [[delphus]] (the womb); a brother (literally or figuratively) near or remote (much like [H0001]).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

1 Corinthians 1:1

_ _ 1 Corinthians 1:1-31. The inscription; Thanksgiving for the spiritual state of the Corinthian church; Reproof of party divisions: His own method of preaching only Christ.

_ _ called to be — Found in some, not in others, of the oldest manuscripts Possibly inserted from Romans 1:1; but as likely to be genuine. Translate, literally, “a called apostle” [Conybeare and Howson].

_ _ through the will of God — not because of my own merit. Thus Paul’s call as “an apostle by the will of God,” while constituting the ground of the authority he claims in the Corinthian Church (compare Galatians 1:1), is a reason for humility on his own part (1 Corinthians 15:8, 1 Corinthians 15:10) [Bengel]. In assuming the ministerial office a man should see he does so not of his own impulse, but by the will of God (Jeremiah 23:21); Paul if left to his own will would never have been an apostle (Romans 9:16).

_ _ Sosthenes — See my Introduction. Associated by Paul with himself in the inscription, either in modesty, Sosthenes being his inferior [Chrysostom], or in order that the name of a “brother” of note in Corinth (Acts 18:17) might give weight to his Epistle and might show, in opposition to his detractors that he was supported by leading brethren. Gallio had driven the Jews who accused Paul from the judgment-seat. The Greek mob, who disliked Jews, took the opportunity then of beating Sosthenes the ruler of the Jewish synagogue, while Gallio looked on and refused to interfere, being secretly pleased that the mob should second his own contempt for the Jews. Paul probably at this time had showed sympathy for an adversary in distress, which issued in the conversion of the latter. So Crispus also, the previous chief ruler of the synagogue had been converted. Saul the persecutor turned into Paul the apostle, and Sosthenes the leader in persecution against that apostle, were two trophies of divine grace that, side by side, would appeal with double power to the Church at Corinth [Birks].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

_ _ We have here the apostle's preface to his whole epistle, in which we may take notice,

_ _ I. Of the inscription, in which, according to the custom of writing letters then, the name of the person by whom it was written and the persons to whom it was written are both inserted. 1. It is an epistle from Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, to the church of Corinth, which he himself had planted, though there were some among them that now questioned his apostleship (1 Corinthians 9:1, 1 Corinthians 9:2), and vilified his person and ministry, 2 Corinthians 10:10. The most faithful and useful ministers are not secure from this contempt. He begins with challenging this character: Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God. He had not taken this honour to himself, but had a divine commission for it. It was proper at any time, but necessary at this time, to assert his character, and magnify his office, when false teachers made a merit of running him down, and their giddy and deluded followers were so apt to set them up in competition with him. It was not pride in Paul, but faithfulness to his trust, in this juncture, to maintain his apostolical character and authority. And, to make this more fully appear, he joins Sosthenes with him in writing, who was a minister of a lower rank. Paul, and Sosthenes his brother, not a fellow-apostle, but a fellow-minister, once a ruler of the Jewish synagogue, afterwards a convert to Christianity, a Corinthian by birth, as is most probable, and dear to this people, for which reason Paul, to ingratiate himself with them, joins them with himself in his first salutations. There is no reason to suppose he was made a partaker of the apostle's inspiration, for which reasons he speaks, through the rest of the epistle, in his own name, and in the singular number. Paul did not in any case lessen his apostolical authority, and yet he was ready upon all occasions to do a kind and condescending thing for their good to whom he ministered. The persons to whom this epistle was directed were the church of God that was at Corinth, sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints. All Christians are thus far sanctified in Christ Jesus, that they are by baptism dedicated and devoted to him, they are under strict obligations to be holy, and they make profession of real sanctity. If they be not truly holy, it is their own fault and reproach. Note, It is the design of Christianity to sanctify us in Christ. He gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. In conjunction with the church at Corinth, he directs the epistle to all that in every place call on the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, both theirs and ours. Hereby Christians are distinguished from the profane and atheistical, that they dare not live without prayer; and hereby they are distinguished from Jews and Pagans, that they call on the name of Christ. He is their common head and Lord. Observe, In every place in the Christian world there are some that call on the name of Christ. God hath a remnant in all places; and we should have a common concern for and hold communion with all that call on Christ's name.

_ _ II. Of the apostolical benediction. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. An apostle of the prince of peace must be a messenger and minister of peace. This blessing the gospel brings with it, and this blessing every preacher of the gospel should heartily wish and pray may be the lot of all among whom he ministers. Grace and peace — the favour of God, and reconciliation to him. It is indeed the summary of all blessings. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace, was the form of benediction under the Old Testament (Numbers 6:26), but this advantage we have by the gospel, 1. That we are directed how to obtain that peace from God: it is in and by Christ. Sinners can have no peace with God, nor any good from him, but through Christ. 2. We are told what must qualify us for this peace; namely, grace: first grace, then peace. God first reconciles sinners to himself, before he bestows his peace upon them.

_ _ III. Of the apostle's thanksgiving to God on their behalf. Paul begins most of his epistles with thanksgiving to God for his friends and prayer for them. Note, The best way of manifesting our affection to our friends is by praying and giving thanks for them. It is one branch of the communion of saints to give thanks to God mutually for our gifts, graces, and comforts. He gives thanks, 1. For their conversion to the faith of Christ: For the grace which was given you through Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:4. He is the great procurer and disposer of the favours of God. Those who are united to him by faith, and made to partake of his Spirit and merits, are the objects of divine favour. God loves them, bears them hearty good-will, and bestows on them his fatherly smiles and blessings. 2. For the abundance of their spiritual gifts. This the church of Corinth was famous for. They did not come behind any of the churches in any gift, 1 Corinthians 1:7. He specifies utterance and knowledge, 1 Corinthians 1:5. Where God has given these two gifts, he has given great capacity for usefulness. Many have the flower of utterance that have not the root of knowledge, and their converse is barren. Many have the treasure of knowledge, and want utterance to employ it for the good of others, and then it is in a manner wrapped up in a napkin. But, where God gives both, a man is qualified for eminent usefulness. When the church of Corinth was enriched with all utterance and all knowledge, it was fit that a large tribute of praise should be rendered to God, especially when these gifts were a testimony to the truth of the Christian doctrine, a confirmation of the testimony of Christ among them, 1 Corinthians 1:6. They were signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Ghost, by which God did bear witness to the apostles, both to their mission and doctrine (Hebrews 2:4), so that the more plentifully they were poured forth on any church the more full attestation was given to that doctrine which was delivered by the apostles, the more confirming evidence they had of their divine mission. And it is no wonder that when they had such a foundation for their faith they should live in expectation of the coming of their Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:7. It is the character of Christians that they wait for Christ's second coming; all our religion has regard to this: we believe it, and hope for it, and it is the business of our lives to prepare for it, if we are Christians indeed. And the more confirmed we are in the Christian faith the more firm is our belief of our Lord's second coming, and the more earnest our expectation of it.

_ _ IV. Of the encouraging hopes the apostle had of them for the time to come, founded on the power and love of Christ, and the faithfulness of God, 1 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:9. He who had begun a good work in them, and carried it on thus far, would not leave it unfinished. Those that wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will be kept by him, and confirmed to the end; and those that are so will be blameless in the day of Christ: not upon the principle of strict justice, but gracious absolution; not in rigour of law, but from rich and free grace. How desirable is it to be confirmed and kept of Christ for such a purpose as this! How glorious are the hopes of such a privilege, whether for ourselves or others! To be kept by the power of Christ from the power of our own corruption and Satan's temptation, that we may appear without blame in the great day! O glorious expectation, especially when the faithfulness of God comes in to support our hopes! He who hath called us into the fellowship of his Son is faithful, and will do it, 1 Thessalonians 5:24. He who hath brought us into near and dear relation to Christ, into sweet and intimate communion with Christ, is faithful; he may be trusted with our dearest concerns. Those that come at his call shall never be disappointed in their hopes in him. If we approve ourselves faithful to God, we shall never find him unfaithful to us. He will not suffer his faithfulness to fail, Psalms 89:33.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

1 Corinthians 1:1

Paul, called to be an apostle — There is great propriety in every clause of the salutation, particularly in this, as there were some in the church of Corinth who called the authority of his mission in question. Through the will of God — Called "the commandment of God," 1 Timothy 1:1 This was to the churches the ground of his authority; to Paul himself, of an humble and ready mind. By the mention of God, the authority of man is excluded, Galatians 1:1; by the mention of the will of God, the merit of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:8, &c. And Sosthenes — A Corinthian, St. Paul's companion in travel. It was both humility and prudence in the apostle, thus to join his name with his own, in an epistle wherein he was to reprove so many irregularities. Sosthenes the brother — Probably this word is emphatical; as if he had said, Who, from a Jewish opposer of the gospel, became a faithful brother.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

1 Corinthians 1:1

Paul, (1) called [to be] an (2) apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and (3) Sosthenes [our] brother,

(1) The inscription of the epistle, in which he mainly tries to procure the good will of the Corinthians towards him, yet nonetheless in such a way that he always lets them know that he is the servant of God and not of men. (2) If he is an apostle, then he must be heard, even though he sometimes sharply reprehends them, seeing he has not his own cause in hand, but is a messenger that brings the commandments of Christ. (3) He has Sosthenes with himself, that this doctrine might be confirmed by two witnesses.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Galatians 2:7-8 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter; ... (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)


1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
1 Corinthians 9:1-2 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? ... If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Acts 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
Acts 1:25-26 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. ... And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Acts 22:21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
2 Corinthians 11:5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, [which is] our hope;
1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.


1 Corinthians 6:16-17 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. ... But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called [me] by his grace, ... To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother,


Acts 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat [him] before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.
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Lk 6:13. Jn 15:16; 20:21. Ac 1:2, 25; 18:17; 22:21. Ro 1:1, 5. 1Co 3:9; 6:16; 9:1; 15:9. 2Co 1:1; 11:5; 12:12. Ga 1:1, 15; 2:7. Ep 1:1; 4:11. Col 1:1. 1Ti 1:1; 2:7.

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