1:1 Paul, 1 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:
(1) See the declaration of such salutations in the former epistles. 1:3 2 a Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of b mercies, and the God of all comfort;
(2) He begins after this manner with thanksgiving, which nonetheless (otherwise than he was accustomed to) he applies to himself: beginning his epistle with the setting forth of the dignity of his apostleship, forced (as it should seem) by their importunity which took an occasion to despise him, by reason of his miseries. But he answers, that he is not so afflicted but that his comforts do exceed his afflictions, showing the ground of them, even the mercy of God the Father in Jesus Christ. 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, 3 that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
(a) To him be praise and glory given.
(b) Most merciful.
(3) The Lord comforts us to this end and purpose, that we may so much the more surely comfort others. 1:5 For as the c sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
(c) The miseries which we suffer for Christ, or which Christ suffers in us. 1:6 4 And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is d effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation.
(4) He denies that either his afflictions with which he was often afflicted, or the consolations which he received of God, may justly be despised, seeing that the Corinthians both ought and might take great occasion to be strengthened and encouraged by either of them. 1:8 5 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we e despaired even of life:
(d) Although salvation is given to us freely, yet because there is a way appointed to us by which we must come to it, which is the race of an innocent and upright life which we must run, therefore we are said to work our salvation; ( Philippians 2:12 ). And because it is God alone that of his free good will works all things in us, therefore is he said to work the salvation in us by that very same way by which we must pass to everlasting life, after we have once overcome all incumbrances.
(5) He witnesses that he is not ashamed of his afflictions, and further that he desires also to have all men know the greatness of them, and also his delivery from them, although it is not yet perfect. 1:9 But we had the sentence of death in f ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
(e) I did not know at all what to do, neither did I see by mans help which way to save my life.
(f) I was resolved within myself to die. 1:10 Who delivered us from so g great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver [us];
(g) From these great dangers. 1:11 6 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, 7 that for the gift [bestowed] upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
(6) That he may not seem to boast of himself, he attributes all to God, and in so doing also confesses that he attributes much to the prayers of the faithful. (7) The end of the afflictions of the saints is the glory of God, and therefore they ought to be precious to us. 1:12 8 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly h sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the i grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
(8) Secondly, he dismisses another slander, that is, that he was a light man, and such a one as was not lightly to be trusted, seeing that he promised to come to them, and did not come. And first he speaks of the singleness of his mind, and sincerity, which they knew both by his voice when he was present, and they ought to acknowledge it also in his letters, being absent: and moreover he protests that he will never be otherwise. 1:13 For we write k none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the l end;
(h) With clearness, and holy and true plainness of mind, as God himself can witness.
(i) Trusting to that very wisdom which God of his free goodness has given me from heaven.
(k) He says that he writes plainly and simply: for he that writes in an elaborate way, is rightly said to write otherwise than we read. And this, he says, the Corinthians will truly know and like very well. 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your m rejoicing, even as ye also [are] ours in the n day of the Lord Jesus.
(m) Pauls rejoicing in the Lord was that he had won the Corinthians: and they themselves rejoiced that such an apostle was their instructor, and taught them so purely and sincerely. 1:15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a o second benefit;
(n) When he will sit as judge.
(o) Another benefit. 1:17 9 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the p flesh, that with me there should be q yea yea, and nay nay?
(9) He dismisses their slander and false report by denying it, and first of all in that different ones went about to persuade the Corinthians, that in the preaching of the Gospel, Paul agreed not to himself: for this was the matter and the case. 1:18 10 But [as] God [is] r true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
(p) As men do who will rashly promise anything, and change their purpose constantly.
(q) That I should say and not say a thing?
1:19 11 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, [even] by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, s was not yea and nay, but in t him was yea.
(10) He calls God as witness and as judge of his constancy in preaching and teaching one self same Gospel.
(r) True, and of whose faithful witness it would be horribly wicked to doubt.
1:20 12 For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in u him Amen, unto the glory of God by x us.
(11) He adds also with himself his companions, as witnesses with whom he fully consented in teaching the same thing, that is, the same Christ.
(s) Was not different and wavering.
(t) That is, in God.
1:21 13 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, [is] God;
(12) Last of all he declares the sum of his doctrine, that is, that all the promises of salvation are sure and ratified in Christ.
(u) Christ is set also forth to exhibit and fulfil them most assuredly, and without any doubt.
(x) Through our ministry.
1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the y earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
(13) He attributes the praise of this constancy only to the grace of God, through the Holy Spirit. In addition he concludes that they cannot doubt of his faith and his fellows, without doing injury to the Spirit of God, seeing that they themselves know all this to be true.
(y) An earnest is whatever is given to confirm a promise. 1:23 14 Moreover I call God for a record upon my z soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
1:24 15 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your a joy: for by faith ye stand.
(14) Now coming to the matter, he swears that he did not lightly alter his purpose of coming to them, but rather that he did not come to them for this reason, that he, being present, might not be forced to deal more sharply with them than he would like.
(z) Against myself, and to the danger of my own life.
(15) He removes all suspicion of arrogance, declaring that he speaks not as a lord to them, but as a servant, appointed by God to comfort them.
(a) He sets the joy and peace of conscience, which God is author of, as opposed to tyrannous fear, and in addition shows the result of the Gospel.