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1 Corinthians 1:17

For Christ sent me not to baptize (ou gar apesteilen me Cristo baptizein). The negative ou goes not with the infinitive, but with apesteilen (from apostellw, apostolo, apostle). For Christ did not send me to be a baptizer (present active infinitive, linear action) like John the Baptist. But to preach the gospel (alla euaggelizesqai). This is Paul's idea of his mission from Christ, as Christ's apostle, to be a gospelizer. This led, of course, to baptism, as a result, but Paul usually had it done by others as Peter at Caesarea ordered the baptism to be done, apparently by the six brethren with him ( Acts 10:48 ). Paul is fond of this late Greek verb from euaggelion and sometimes uses both verb and substantive as in 1 Corinthians 15:1 "the gospel which I gospelized unto you." Not in wisdom of words (ouk en sopiai logou). Note ou, not mh (the subjective negative), construed with apesteilen rather than the infinitive. Not in wisdom of speech (singular). Preaching was Paul's forte, but it was not as a pretentious philosopher or professional rhetorician that Paul appeared before the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 ). Some who followed Apollos may have been guilty of a fancy for external show, though Apollos was not a mere performer and juggler with words. But the Alexandrian method as in Philo did run to dialectic subtleties and luxuriant rhetoric (Lightfoot). Lest the cross of Christ should be made void (ina mh kenwqh o stauro tou Cristou). Negative purpose (ina mh) with first aorist passive subjunctive, effective aorist, of kenow, old verb from keno, to make empty. In Paul's preaching the Cross of Christ is the central theme. Hence Paul did not fall into the snare of too much emphasis on baptism nor into too little on the death of Christ. "This expression shows clearly the stress which St. Paul laid on the death of Christ, not merely as a great moral spectacle, and so the crowning point of a life of self-renunciation, but as in itself the ordained instrument of salvation" (Lightfoot).

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