Jubilee Bible For the God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to bring forth the light of the knowledge of the clarity of God in the face of Jesus Christ. King James Bible For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. American King James Version For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
American Standard Version Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Douay-Rheims Bible For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. Darby Bible Translation Because [it is] the God who spoke that out of darkness light should shine who has shone in our hearts for the shining forth of the knowledge of the glory of God in [the] face of [Jesus] Christ. English Revised Version Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Webster's Bible Translation For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Weymouth New Testament For God who said, "Out of darkness let light shine," is He who has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory, which is radiant on the face of Christ. World English Bible seeing it is God who said, "Light will shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Individuals, to ensure the success of their undertakings, vow to present to Venus a certain number of courtezans, whom they send for to different countries. They attract hither the foreign merchants, and in a few days ruin them and their whole retinue: His purpose was to have but one object of interest and of thought as pertaining to himself, and to endeavour to secure but one object in reference to them.
Amidst the works of art and beauty which might be supposed to be interesting to a stranger visiting Corinth, he resolved to show that there was something more attractive in his view; and even among that gay and pleasure-loving people, he would seek to introduce it as an object which would become more attractive to them than all the splendours and all the vanities around them.
That object was a crucified Saviour, as able to impart more genuine happiness to the mind than all the pleasures of earth, however varied, multiplied, and refined; as more efficacious in turning men from sin than all the rules of morality and philosophy; as the only thing that would secure reconciliation with God. To understand the Apostle's purpose, as thus declared, and to elucidate our subject—Christianity in contact with gaiety, luxury, and sensuality—it will be necessary to consider how the new topic of thought which Paul determined to introduce there, would be likely to be received; and then, the adaptedness of this theme to secure his object.
These points suggest inquiry as to the purpose of the gospel in respect to the salvation of the world, and will bring before us more important, and, in some respects, more difficult questions than any which elsewhere come before the minds of men. It seems strange to many that Paul should have selected such a theme; it seems absurd to them that he should have hoped for any success in dwelling on such a theme in such a place; it is difficult for them now to see how the " cross" can become attractive to the gay and the worldly, or how it can change the entire purpose of their lives.
The new topic of thought which Paul proposed to introduce into Corinth, and on which alone he proposed to dwell, — Christ, and Hint crucified. In attempting now to show how this would be likely to strike the Corinthian mind, we shall have an illustration of a general fact in regard to the manner in which such a topic appears to the gay and the voluptuous; to those intent on pleasure; and to the great mass of men, whatever may be their pursuits, in every age, and in every land.
To see this, it is necessary, as far as possible, to put ourselves in the situation of the Corinthians, and then to ask how they would be likely to regard this foreign Jew and his message. Either as the result of experience, or of inspiration, this same apostle, in a letter subsequently sent to the Corinthians, has stated how the cross of Christ is naturally regarded by that class of minds.
He who came to them to preach this doctrine was a Jew; and, as such, would be able to advance but feeble claims to a hearing from an assembly of Greeks. The Jew had almost no science, and no literature, except his sacred books. His country had produced no philosophers celebrated like those of Greece. To this subject allusion has already been made, and it is a circumstance important to be borne in mind.
He of whom Paul came to speak—" Christ"—was a Jew also. He was of lowly origin; had lived mostly in an obscure part of his own country; had enjoyed almost no advantages of education; had laboured at a humble mechanical employment; had been associated mainly with fishermen; had been rejected as an impostor by his own countrymen. What -claims had He to the attention of foreign nations? His fame had not reached Corinth before Paul went there; but at every step an interest was to be created for Him, if it was to exist at all.
Why should an inhabitant of Corinth feel any interest in a poor and unknown man, who had dwelt in Nazareth, and been crucified at Jerusalem? The theme was one that was little likely to be attractive to those who lived in Corinth, a. Paul could not have hoped that the mere fact that one had been thus crucified would interest and arouse them, for occurrences of that kind were not uncommon, and why among the hundreds who had been crucified in Judaea under the Roman government should this particular case be selected as having a claim to universal attention?
It could not have been supposed that this would interest them because a great wrong- had been done to Him as a Roman citizen, for Jesus was not a Roman citizen, and did not claim to be such, c. It could not have been hoped that an interest would be awakened in Him as a martyr, for there had been others in Judaea, who, it might be said, were not less eminent as martyrs than He was; and there had been martyrs in Greece, in the cause of liberty, justice, and truth, whom the Corinthians would be likely to regard as not less worthy of honour than any who had suffered martyrdom in other lands.
The "cross," moreover, little as it has now to make it attractive to the gay and the worldly, had then everything that could make the mention of it repulsive. Even in our day, there is almost nothing more incongruous and uncongenial to the prevailing tastes and feelings of that class of persons than the topics connected with a crucified Saviour.
In the social intercourse of those whose feelings and condition of life would be represented by the Corinthians, there is almost no subject so seldom introduced in conversation, and none whose introduction would be regarded as more out of place, or more offensive, than a reference to Christ and His cross. By common consent the subject is banished from such circles. Who will venture to make an allusion to it in a ball-room?
Who, at the opera? Who, in the theatre? No one could introduce a topic that would be regarded as more out of place; more repellent; more certain to give offence.
And this topic would have been much more unattractive—much more repellent—in Corinth, than it would be in such circles among us. The human heart has not, indeed, been changed in its aversion to the cross, nor will it ever be except by the grace of God; but there has been a change, in some respects, in regard to the way in which it is contemplated by the world at large.
It is impossible to put ourselves, even in imagination, in the condition of those to whom the Gospel was first preached. There has been such a sacredness thrown around the cross,—there are such hallowed associations connected with it,—the world has learned to regard the very name, "the cross," as so identified with all that is sacred, with all that is self-denying, that even the votaries of gaiety and vanity might be shocked by such a statement as would place the reality before their minds.
The cross, even in popular estimation, has become the symbol of honour, of glory, of goodness, and of mercy. We have read of it as a standard in war, under which armies have marched to victory; it is embalmed in the sweetest poetry; it is found in magnificent cathedrals; it is a sacred emblem on the altars of churches; it is engraven on the marble which affection rears to mark the graves of those we loved; it is often worn by beauty and piety as an ornament near the heart; it is associated with all that is pure in love, great in self-sacrifice, and sacred in religion.
As a mode of punishment, it is now unknown; and when we think of the cross, it is not of the multitude of slaves, and thieves, and robbers, and vagabonds, who have died on it, but of the one great Victim whose death has ennobled even this instrument of torture, and encircled it with a halo of glory. But at the time when Paul resolved to know nothing but "Christ crucified,"—at the time when he said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" Gal.
How could it be hoped by Paul that the gay citizens of Corinth could be made to overcome this revulsion of feeling, and to find an object of attraction in a cross? The cross was to be made known to them as a method of salvation; as an instrument in turning the wicked from their ways; as a means of inducing the gay and the worldly to forsake their vanities and follies. It was this alone which it was Paul's object to proclaim. It was not that He who had been crucified had a claim to glory that might be compared with the fame of Grecian warriors on a battle field; it was not that He had been, like many of their own countrymen, a sufferer in the cause of liberty, and that His name on that account was worthy to be enrolled with theirs; it was not that He had suggested new truths in philosophy which might interest a Greek mind; it was not the announcement that new sources of pleasure had been opened to vary the scenes of sensual enjoyment, and to give new attractiveness to social life; it was not the discovery of new methods to prolong the gratifications of sense, or to repair the wasted vigour of those who had been enervated by carnal indulgences.
Any or all of these things might have been matters of interest to the inhabitants of Corinth. But it was solely with reference to religion—to salvation—to a method of securing the favour of God,—that Paul sought to make the cross attractive to those whom he purposed to address. And it was on this alone that he relied for success. It was not grace of manner, or attractive rhetoric, or balanced periods and rounded sentences; it was not philosophy, or argument, or dialectical skill; it was the theme itself, however presented—the truth—the fact of the crucifixion—the "power" that there was in the cross,—and that alone.
It was easy to see and Paul has not left us to doubt that he saw how this would be likely to appear to dwellers in Greece.
He has, in writing to the Corinthians, stated with philosophical accuracy, precisely Iww this would strike their mind. This word expresses exactly the idea; it describes precisely the impression which the attempt would make on the mind of a Greek. The word "folly" is thus defined: All this would to a Greek appear to be true of the Gospel.
To his apprehension, there would be, there could be, no adaptedness in the idea of a "cross" to the work of salvation; to the elevation of the race; to the reformation of mankind. He would see no connexion between the one and the other; no fitness in the means for the end. The Greeks had their own ideas of what was necessary to raise, to civilize, to reform, to save men.
We are better able to realize the abiding presence of Christ. We must add, also, to the fact of its being so favourably situated for commerce, that, on the very isthmus on which the city was built, were celebrated the games which derived their name from that fact—the Isthmian Games,—and which drew together vast numbers of people from the other parts of Greece, and from foreign lands. Athens and Corinth contrasted. Lord help us to love your words of truth, may we walk in your freedom and wisdom. The origins of his name are a bit of a mystery…. The way a subject belongs to a king.
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