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1 Corinthians 1:31

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

According as it is written - In Jeremiah 9:23, Jeremiah 9:24; : Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this: That he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth. So then, as all good is of and from God, let him that has either wisdom, strength, riches, pardon, holiness, or any other blessing, whether temporal or spiritual, acknowledge that he has nothing but what he has received; and that, as he has cause of glorying (boasting or exultation) in being made a partaker of these benefits and mercies of his Creator and Redeemer, let him boast in God alone, by whom, through Christ Jesus, he has received the whole.

  1. This is an admirable chapter, and drawn up with great skill and address. The divided state of the Corinthian Church we have already noticed, and it appears that in these factions the apostle's authority had been set at nought by some, and questioned by many. St. Paul begins his letter with showing his authority; he had it immediately through Christ Jesus himself, by the will of God. And indeed the success of his preaching was a sufficient proof of the Divinity of his call. Had not God been with him he never could have successfully opposed the whole system of the national religion of the Corinthians, supported as it was by the prejudice of the people, the authority of the laws, and the eloquence and learning of their most eminent philosophers. It was necessary, therefore, that he should call the attention of this people to the Divine origin of his mission, that they might acknowledge that the excellency of the power was of God, and not of man.
  • It was necessary also that he should conciliate their esteem, and therefore speak as favourably concerning them as truth would allow; hence he shows them that they were a Church of God, sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints; that they abounded and even excelled in many extraordinary gifts and graces; and that they were not inferior to any Church of God in any gift. And he shows them that they received all these through God's confirmation of that testimony which he had delivered among them, 1 Corinthians 1:4-7.
  • When he had thus prepared their minds to receive and profit by his admonitions he proceeds to their schisms, which he mentions and reprehends in the most delicate manner, so that the most obstinate and prejudiced could take no offense.
  • Having gained this point, he gently leads them to consider that, as God is the fountain of all good, so their good had all come from him; and that none of them should rest in the gift, but in the giver; nor should they consider themselves as of particular consequence on account of possessing such gifts, because all earthly good is transitory, and those who trust in power, wisdom, or wealth, are confounded and brought to nought; and that they alone are safe who receive every thing as from the hand of God, and, in the strength of his gifts, glorify him who is the donor of all good. He who can read this chapter without getting much profit has very little spirituality in his soul, and must be utterly unacquainted with the work of God in the heart.
  • Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    As it is written - This is evidently a quotation made from Jeremiah 9:23-24. It is not made literally; but the apostle has “condensed” the sense of the prophet into a few words, and has retained essentially his idea.

    He that glorieth - He that boasts or exults.

    In the Lord - Not ascribing his salvation to human abilities, or learning, or rank, but entirely to God. And from this we see:

    (1) That the design of the plan of salvation is to exalt God in view of the mind.

    (2) that the design is to make us humble; and this is the design also of all his works no less than of the plan of salvation. All just views of the creation tend to produce true humility.

    (3) it is an evidence of piety when we are thus disposed to exalt God, and to be humble. It shows that the heart is changed; and that we are truly disposed to honor him.

    (4) we may rejoice in God. We have no strength, and no righteousness of which to boast; but we may rejoice in him. He is full of goodness and mercy. He is able to save us. He can redeem us out of the hand of all our enemies. And when we are conscious that we are poor, and feeble, and helpless; when oppressed with a sense of sin, we may rejoice in him as our God; and exult in him as our Saviour and Redeemer. True piety will delight to come and lay everything at his feet; and whatever may be our rank, or talent, or learning, we shall rejoice to come with the temper of the humblest child of poverty, and sorrow, and lack, and to say, “not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for thy mercy, and for thy truth‘s sake,” Psalm 115:1.

    “Not to our names, thou only just and true,

    Not to our worthless names is glory due;

    Thy power and grace, thy truth and justice claim.

    Immortal honours to thy sovereign name.”

    Watts.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    God did not choose philosophers, nor orators, nor statesmen, nor men of wealth, and power, and interest in the world, to publish the gospel of grace and peace. He best judges what men and what measures serve the purposes of his glory. Though not many noble are usually called by Divine grace, there have been some such in every age, who have not been ashamed of the gospel of Christ; and persons of every rank stand in need of pardoning grace. Often, a humble Christian, though poor as to this world, has more true knowledge of the gospel, than those who have made the letter of Scripture the study of their lives, but who have studied it rather as the witness of men, than as the word of God. And even young children have gained such knowledge of Divine truth as to silence infidels. The reason is, they are taught of God; the design is, that no flesh should glory in his presence. That distinction, in which alone they might glory, was not of themselves. It was by the sovereign choice and regenerating grace of God, that they were in Jesus Christ by faith. He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; all we need, or can desire. And he is made wisdom to us, that by his word and Spirit, and from his fulness and treasures of wisdom and knowledge, we may receive all that will make us wise unto salvation, and fit for every service to which we are called. We are guilty, liable to just punishment; and he is made righteousness, our great atonement and sacrifice. We are depraved and corrupt, and he is made sanctification, that he may in the end be made complete redemption; may free the soul from the being of sin, and loose the body from the bonds of the grave. And this is, that all flesh, according to the prophecy by Jeremiah, Jer 9:23-24, may glory in the special favour, all-sufficient grace, and precious salvation of Jehovah.
    Ellen G. White
    The Upward Look, 127.1

    But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31. UL 127.1

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    Ellen G. White
    That I May Know Him, 159.2

    What a grand theme this is for contemplation—the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ! Contemplating Christ and His righteousness leaves no room for self-righteousness, for the glorifying of self. In this chapter there is no standstill. There is continual advancement in every stage in the knowledge of Christ. Through the knowledge of Christ is life eternal. In His prayer Jesus says, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). In God we are to glory.... “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31).... TMK 159.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Fundamentals of Christian Education, 415

    The students in our schools are to consider the knowledge of God as above everything else. Searching the Scriptures alone will bring the knowledge of the true God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”—Special Testimonies On Education, March 26, 1896. FE 415.1

    Our Children Demand Our Care and Attention, The Review and Herald, April 28, 1896
    The Childhood of Jesus, The Bible Echo, May 11, 1896.

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    Ellen G. White
    Counsels to Writers and Editors, 120

    The Lord makes every difference between the obedient and the disobedient. “Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldst go. O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” CW 120.1

    How important it is that the men to whom students look for instruction shall diligently search the Scriptures, that they may know the way, the truth, and the life. In the sixth chapter of John there is instruction of great importance to those who would be teachers. Let it be carefully studied by our teachers, that they may be able to give their students meat in due season. “It is written in the prophets,” said Christ, “And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... CW 120.2

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.... It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” CW 121.1

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