1 Corinthians 1:24
But to them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
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(24) Them which are called.—St. Paul always speaks of all Christians as “the called,” not using that word in the narrower sense to which some modern religious sects have restricted it.

1:17-25 Paul had been bred up in Jewish learning; but the plain preaching of a crucified Jesus, was more powerful than all the oratory and philosophy of the heathen world. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. The preaching of salvation for lost sinners by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, if explained and faithfully applied, appears foolishness to those in the way to destruction. The sensual, the covetous, the proud, and ambitious, alike see that the gospel opposes their favourite pursuits. But those who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, see more of God's wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified, than in all his other works. God left a great part of the world to follow the dictates of man's boasted reason, and the event has shown that human wisdom is folly, and is unable to find or retain the knowledge of God as the Creator. It pleased him, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. By the foolishness of preaching; not by what could justly be called foolish preaching. But the thing preached was foolishness to wordly-wise men. The gospel ever was, and ever will be, foolishness to all in the road to destruction. The message of Christ, plainly delivered, ever has been a sure touchstone by which men may learn what road they are travelling. But the despised doctrine of salvation by faith in a crucified Saviour, God in human nature, purchasing the church with his own blood, to save multitudes, even all that believe, from ignorance, delusion, and vice, has been blessed in every age. And the weakest instruments God uses, are stronger in their effects, than the strongest men can use. Not that there is foolishness or weakness in God, but what men consider as such, overcomes all their admired wisdom and strength.But unto them which are called - To all true Christians. See the note at 1 Corinthians 1:9.

Both Jews and Greeks - Whether originally of Jewish or Gentile extraction, they have here a common, similar view of the crucified Saviour.

Christ the power of God - Christ appears to them as the power of God; or it is through him that the power of salvation is communicated to them. See the note at 1 Corinthians 1:18.

And the wisdom of God - The way in which God evinces his wisdom in the salvation of people. They see the plan to be wise. They see that it is adapted to the end. They see it to be suited to procure pardon, and sanctification, and eternal life. It is God's wise plan for the salvation of people; and it is seen by those who are Christians, to be adapted to this end. They see that there is a beauty in his character; an excellency in his doctrines; and an efficacy in his atonement, to secure their salvation. - We may remark on this verse:

(1) That when people become Christians, their hearts are changed. The views of Christians are here represented as diametrically opposite to those of other people. To one class, Christ is a stumbling-block; to others, folly; to Christians he is full of beauty. But those views of the Christian, can be obtained only by a change of heart. And the change from regarding an object or being as foolishness to regarding it as full of beauty, must be a radical and a mighty change.

(2) all Christians have similar views of the Saviour. It matters not whether they were Jew or Greek; it matters not whether they were born in a northern or southern clime - "whether an Indian or an African sun has burned upon them;" whether they speak the same or different languages; whether they were born amidst the same or different denominations of Christians; whether in the same or different countries; or whether they are people in the same or different Christian communities, they have the same views of the Saviour. They see him to be the power and the wisdom of God. They are united in him, and therefore united to each other; and should regard themselves as belonging to the same family, and as bound to the same eternal home.

(3) there is real efficacy in the plan of salvation. It is a scheme of power. It is adapted to the end, and is admirably suited to accomplish the great effects which God designs to accomplish. It is not a scheme intended to show its own imbecility, and the need of another and an independent agent to accomplish the work. All the effects which the Holy Spirit produces on the soul, are such, and only such, as the truth of the gospel is adapted to produce in the mind. The gospel is God's plan of putting forth power to save people. It seizes upon great elements in human nature; and is adapted to enlist them in the service of God. It is just suited to man as a being capable of reasoning and susceptible of emotion; as a being who maybe influenced by hope and fear; who may be excited and impelled to duty by conscience, and who may be roused from a state of lethargy and sin by the prospect of eternal life, and the apprehension of eternal death. "As such" it should always be preached - as a system "wise," and "adapted" to the great end in view, as a system most powerful and "mighty to the pulling down of strong holds."

24. called—(compare 1Co 1:26). The same class as the "us which are (being) saved" (1Co 1:18); the elect, who have obeyed the call; called effectually (Ro 8:28, 30).

Christ—"Crucified" is not here added, because when the offense of the cross is overcome, "Christ" is received in all His relations, not only in His cross, but in His life and His future kingdom.

power—so meeting all the reasonable requirements of the Jews who sought "a sign." The cross (the death of a slave), which to the Jews (looking for a temporal Messiah) was a "stumbling-block," is really "the power of God" to the salvation of all who believe.

wisdom of God—so really exhibiting, and in the highest degree (if they would but see it), that which the Greeks sought after—wisdom (Col 2:3).

Blessed be God, Christ is not to all the Jews a stmnblingblock, nor to all the Greeks is he foolishness; for to so many of them as are called, ( not by the external call of the gospel, but only by the internal call and effectual operation of the Spirit), let them be of one nation or another, by their country, Jews or pagans, Christ is so far from being foolishness, that Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel, appear to them the power of God, and the wisdom of God. But unto them which are called,.... Effectually, by the grace of God, not merely externally, but internally; these have other sentiments of Christ, and the doctrine of salvation by him; for being called out of darkness, and savingly illuminated by the Spirit of God, they see wisdom, beauty, glory, excellency, and suitableness in Christ, and in his Gospel; and having felt the power of it upon their souls, with them,

both Jews and Greeks, of whatsoever nation they be, and whatsoever their prejudices have been, Christ, to them is,

the power of God, and the wisdom of God: he is "the power of God"; this is opposed to the Jews who stumbled at his weakness, his sufferings and death, even the death of the cross; and is to be understood of him, not as God, in which sense he is Mighty, yea, the Almighty, and which appears by his works of creation and providence; but as Mediator, and of him in his low and mean estate, and even when he was crucified through weakness; in respect to that very thing in which he was weakness, and so stumbling, to others, he is to them that are called the power of God; as is clear by his bearing all the sins of his people in his own body, on the tree, the cross whereon he was crucified, and all the punishment due thereunto; and yet he failed not, nor was he discouraged, nor did he give out, till he had satisfied law and justice perfectly, and made a full end of sin, and an entire reconciliation for iniquity; as also by destroying, by his death, the devil, who had the power of death, and spoiling all his principalities and powers, triumphing over them on his cross; by redeeming his people from all their sins, and the curse of the law, and from him that was stronger than they; by abolishing death, and at last raising himself from the dead; all which show him, even when and "though" crucified, to be the power of God, or to be possessed of Almighty power; for these are things which a mere creature could never have done: and he is "the wisdom of God", also, in the account of these persons; and which likewise is to be understood, it being opposed to the opinions the Greeks had of him, not of him as the essential wisdom of God, as he is the wise Creator and Governor of the universe; but of him as Mediator, and in respect to that for which the Greeks accounted him foolishness: for in redemption and salvation by a crucified Christ, God hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence: there is in this article a high display of the wisdom of God; for hereby justice was satisfied in that nature which sinned, and Satan destroyed in that nature which he himself had been the ruin of; hereby sin was condemned, and yet the sinner saved; pardon and justification came to be in a way of grace, and yet of strict justice; all the divine perfections harmonize, and are glorified, and God has hereby executed his wise designs and counsels of old; yea, even the wisdom of God is seen in Christ's dying the death of the cross, whereby he appeared to be made a curse for us, that he might redeem us from the curse of the law, and that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us.

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:24. Along with Χριστόν, which is triumphantly repeated, we are mentally to supply κηρύσσομεν: but to the called themselves … we preach Christ as God’s power and God’s wisdomi.e. our preaching of Christ as crucified makes such an impression upon them,[252] that they come to know in their experience the manifestation and the whole work of Christ as that whereby God powerfully works out salvation and reveals His counsel full of wisdom; comp 1 Corinthians 1:30. Hofmann’s construction, making ΧΡΙΣΤΌΝ to be in apposition to Χριστὸν ἐσταυρ., would be logically correct only on one of two suppositions: either if in 1 Corinthians 1:23 there stood merely ἐσταυρωμένον without Χριστόν (“a crucified one … who is to them Christ”); or if, in 1 Corinthians 1:24, some more precise definition, such as ὄντως or ἈΛΗΘῶς, were given along with ΧΡΙΣΤΌΝ.

] is not the iis pointing back to τοὺς πιστεύοντας, so that ΤΟῖς ΚΛΗΤΟῖς would be in apposition to it (Hofmann); for in that case, notwithstanding the harsh and distant retrospective reference, αὐτοῖς would in fact be entirely superfluous; but the words ΑὐΤΟῖς ΔῈ ΤΟῖς ΚΛΗΤΟῖς—the ΑὐΤΟῖς being emphatically put first (2 Corinthians 11:14; Hebrews 9:23, al[254], and very often in Greek writers)—go together as closely connected, and mean simply: ipsis autem vocatis (Vulg.), to the called for their part, so far as they are concerned, so that αὐτοῖς denotes the called themselves (Herm. a[255] Viger. p. 733), in contrast to those round about them still remaining in unbelief (Ἰουδαίοιςμωρίαν). Instead of Τ. ΚΛΗΤΟῖς, we might have had ΤΟῖς ΠΙΣΤΕΎΟΥΣΙΝ (1 Corinthians 1:21); but how natural it was that the ΘΕΟῦ ΔΎΝΑΜΙΝ Κ.Τ.Λ[256], which was present to the apostle’s mind, should have led to his designating the subjects of his statement according to the divine qualification which applied to them. Comp 1 Corinthians 1:26. As to κλητός, see on 1 Corinthians 1:2.[258] That Paul did not write ἩΜῖΝ, is to be accounted for on the ground of its being unsuitable to the ΚΗΡΎΣΣ., which is to be here again understood; not, as Rückert thinks, because it seemed to him too hard to oppose ἩΜ. to ἸΟΥΔ. and ἜΘΝΕΣΙ.

.] To all the κλητοί Christ is both. But the words are formally parallel to the two former demands in 1 Corinthians 1:22; hence δύναμιν is put first. Respecting σοφίαν, comp on 1 Corinthians 1:30.

[252] For the preaching is not twofold, but one and the same, only spoken of in its respective relations to the two opposite classes of men. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:16. That is the crisis, which the gospel brings about, and its influence on the called is to make them free (John 8:33; John 8:36; Romans 6:22).

[254] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[255] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[256] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[258] Comp. Clem. Alex. Strom. I. p. 314 (ed. Paris. 1641): πάντων ἀνθρώπων κεκλημένων οἱ ὑπακοῦσαι βουληθέντες κλητοὶ ὠνομάσθησαν. These also are the σωζόμενοι, ver. 18; the opposite is the ἀπολλύμενοι.1 Corinthians 1:24. αὐτοῖς δὲ τοῖς κλητοῖς, ipsis autem vocatis (Vg[239]): for the emphatic prefixed αὐτοῖς, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Thess. 16, etc.; it “marks off those alluded to from the classes to which they nationally belonged” (El[240])—“to the called however upon their part, both Jews and Greeks”—cf. the οὐδιαστολὴ of Romans 3:9; Romans 3:22 ff. “(We proclaim) a Christ (to these) God’s power and God’s wisdom.” Of God reiterated four times, with triumphant emphasis, in the stately march of 1 Corinthians 1:24 f. Θεοῦ δύν., Θεοῦ σοφ. are predicative, in antithesis to ἐσταυρωμένον (1 Corinthians 1:23): the app. “preach as power and wisdom” One who wears to the world the aspect of utter powerlessness and folly.—Δύναμις and Σοφία Θεοῦ were synonyms of the Λόγος in the Alexandrian-Jewish speculations, in which Apollos was probably versed; these surpassing titles Paul appropriates for the Crucified.—Θεοῦ δύναμιν reaffirms, after explanation, the δύναμις Θεοῦ of 1 Corinthians 1:18; now Θεοῦ σοφίαν is added to it, for “power” proves “wisdom” here (see note on 1 Corinthians 1:30); the universal efficacy of the Gospel demonstrates its inner truth, and faith is finally justified by reason.—δύναμιν matches the σημεῖον of 1 Corinthians 1:22 (see, e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:9); believing Jews found, after all, in the cross the mightiest miracle, while Greeks found the deepest wisdom. The “wisdom of God,” secretly working in the times of preparation (1 Corinthians 1:20), is thus at length brought to human recognition in Christ. On κλητοῖς see note to 1 Corinthians 1:2 : this term is preferable to οἱ σωζόμενοι, or οἱ πιστεύοντες, where the stress rests upon God’s initiative in the work of individual salvation; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:26, Romans 8:28 ff.

[239] Latin Vulgate Translation.

[240] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.24. but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God] His power enabled them to shake off the yoke of sin and conform their lives to the pattern of His. His wisdom consisted in speaking what He knew and testifying what He had seen (St John 3:11), in declaring those heavenly truths hitherto concealed.1 Corinthians 1:24. Αὐτοῖς) to them, construe with, Jews, and Greeks.—κλητοῖς, who are called) Refer the calling, 1 Corinthians 1:26, to this word.—Χριστὸν, Christ) with His cross, death, life, and kingdom. [The surname Crucified is not added in this passage. When the offence of the cross is overcome, the whole mystery of Christ is laid open.—V. g.]—δύναμινσοφίαν, power—wisdom) Power is first experienced, then wisdom.Verse 24. - Unto them that are called (see Romans 8:28); literally, to the called themselves. Both Jews and Greeks. Henceforth the middle wall of partition between them is thrown down, and there is no difference (Romans 9:24). Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. These words are a summary of the gospel. St. Paul is the best commentator on himself. He speaks elsewhere of "the exceeding greatness of God's power to usward who believe which he wrought in Christ" (Ephesians 1:17-20), and of "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" as being "hid in Christ" (Colossians 2:3). And the world, once so scornful, has learnt that Christ is indeed the Power of God. When Rudolph of Hapsburgh was being crowned, and in the hurry no sceptre could be found, he seized a crucifix, and swore that that should be his only sceptre. When St. Thomas of Aquinum asked St. Bonaventura what was the source of his immense learning, he pointed in silence to his crucifix.
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